Dear White People on Netflix Is Everything That The Movie Could Have Been Plus More. You Might Should Watch It. » VSB

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Dear White People on Netflix Is Everything That The Movie Could Have Been Plus More. You Might Should Watch It.

Actress Logan Browning attends the Dear White People premiere during the SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 13, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

 

(There are no spoilers in this piece. You’re welcome.)

Let’s get this out of the way early: The movie Dear White People wasn’t very good. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t very good. For a movie with such a provocative title and premise, I was remarkably underwhelmed by the actual movie. When my friend and I left the theater we literally had nothing to say about it. A movie that actively addressed so many issues should not have been so…welp. I don’t know if it was my own expectations, or what. Who knows? But I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in that thinking and that lack of word of mouth positivity didn’t do much to help it out in terms of movie goers or conversation.

Time goes on and in May of 2016, it was announced that the creators of Dear White People had struck a deal with Lionsgate to turn that movie into a Netflix show. A few things of note here: 1) I trust the shit out of Netflix at this point. Netflix Original series and Google are pretty much my ministry; 2) I was also surprised because I presumed that the folks at Netflix saw the movie and couldn’t have been any more whelmed than the general public. Plus, in the middle somewhere was supposed to be some musical that Justin Simien (the show’s creator and director) was putting together. All that to say, I wasn’t exactly anticipating this switch to the small screen but I like good things and try to support Black art and if Netflix saw it lookin’ like an easy come up, ya bish, then I was going to at least give it some country.

Plus, if I can watch Deuces starring Larenz Tate and Meagan Good (am I the only person who has to look up how to spell her name every single time I write it) in a movie that is a knock-off of Power meets In Too Deep, on purpose, then I can definitely watch Dear White People. And yes, Deuces is a thing, and yes, it is on Netflix right now. It’s also nice to see Rick Gonzalez mixing his characters from Biker Boyz, Coach Carter, and November Rule into one. That boy good.

(On a side-note, there needs to be an underrated role player hall of fame that would definitely include Rick Gonzalez and Jason Weaver. It could even be called the Clifton Powell Hall of Fame for Underrated Role Players in the Cinematic Arts. It should be in, like, Charlotte.)

Back to the lecture at hand. 

Dear White People on Netflix is EVERYTHING that the movie should have been plus some and I believe that the Black delegation is comfortable in saying that DWP is now cooking with gas. It’s compelling, it’s provocative, it’s well acted, it’s relevant, it’s nuanced, it’s funny where it needs to be, it’s satirical, it’s, basically, entirely fucking awesome. It’s got power, poison, pain, and joy, hustle though, ambition and flow inside it’s DNA.

By turning the premise of the movie – a rich, white Ivy league institution dealing with it’s racism, spurred by student activists – and delving more deeply into individual characters and fleshing out what makes them tick, it becomes a way more enlightening and enjoyable product. And it’s ALL entirely believable. There are no reaches. There are no situations that aren’t possible or likely. If you attended a predominantly white institution, it’s entirely possible that this whole show WAS your college experience.

Samantha White, the mixed girl with the powerful “Dear White People” radio platform that is intent on calling out racism and injustice, who ALSO happens to be the one dating a white dude, is still the central character. She’s the sun, but other characters in the universe get an unabridged injection of interest. It’s got…it’s got…it’s got…hm…realness, now it just kills shit and the show benefits tremendously because of it.

I’ve admitted that I can be sensitive at times (I have no shame about This Is Us drawing thug tears) but there are few scenes in this series that will break down even the thuggiest of edu-thugs because it could be you. Dear White People creatives leveled this shit all the way up, taking in all of the things that have happened in the past few years (including some of the criticism of the movie) and distilling them into the college experience.

I have to say, kudos to the team behind Dear White People. Everybody involved must have sat down at the table (no word on if Solange was present) and decided that they were going to ante up. The first episode is mostly a rehash of the movie (though better), but from Chapter II and on and on to  Chapter X, shit gets real. Word to Shyheim.

While Greenleaf is a show for you if you’re for the shits, Dear White People is a show that’s funny and edifying at the same time. It’s a real show that could be anybody’s life on a college campus, especially nowadays. The dialogue is right, the situations real, the execution is well done.

Dear White People is what the movie should have been, but I needed the television version to understand why. The thinkpieces will come fast and furious and they will be laudatory. They will be right.

Et facta est lux.

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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • AKA The Sauce

    On Episode 9…..it’s…yea

    • IDontKnowAnyMore

      9 episodes already?

      • AKA The Sauce

        I started Friday but couldn’t finish it

        • Jennifer

          I finished on Saturday between work shifts. It’s good.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    It’s caught a lot of heat on my feed for being pro-miscegenation and catering to white supremacy like the film was. But that’s from the super-DOOPER militant cats in my circle.

    • panamajackson

      Really? I’m surprised by that. At least promoting that agenda. It seems like a bunch of Black cats at a super white school dealing with that life as they try to navigate it, while being humans.

    • Jennifer

      Are we still using “miscegenation?” Asking for a friend.

    • Terri

      As white person (female) : i thought they did a decent job of portraying the main difficulty of a mixed race relationship with a white person–that the white person can never understand their partner’s lived experience, and they left open the question of how to surmount that. On the flip side, the Reggie episode can probably bring a white person as close as possible (in a work of art) to understanding a little of that experience.
      :-( More so than the movie did.

  • Khal Drag A Hoe

    Also, shout out to heterosexual friend being a normal human being and friend to his homosexual roommate and for handling the lost wig with aplomb. He’s the hero we didn’t know we needed.

    • panamajackson

      He really is.

    • AKA The Sauce

      I had two homosexual roommates in college. We still friends to this day.

      • Spicy Kas

        We’re you aware prior to rooming with them?

        • AKA The Sauce

          I was not

          • Spicy Kas

            I had one friend in college that turned out to be gay, but we had stopped hanging out by the time he came out of the closet.

            • AKA The Sauce

              Nah we stayed roommates for a while (they always always had home girls) and they were just super cool.

              • Spicy Kas

                Once my friend joined a fraternity his social circle changed up. Then he transferred to a different school.

                • AKA The Sauce

                  Be like that sometimes

                  • Spicy Kas

                    Some people overly embrace Greek life.

                    • SororSalsa

                      They really do. It was really refreshing to me that this weekend, I found out that a friend and I (who I have known for 10+ years) is in the same sorority as me. I guess there’s a lot more than that to who we are, so it wasn’t the first thing we discussed when getting to know each other.

                    • AKA The Sauce

                      LOL

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    • I will say that was handled very well. With the way Troy’s Character was shaping up…I was like “oh lord, is this gonna be ugly?” I appreciate that he just was like “oh, cool…lemme holla at this cut tho” Cause…homeboy NEEDS an ally that has the finesse with clippers.

  • AlwaysPi7

    I have no interest in these shows waiting for Insecure’s second season.

    • AKA The Sauce

      You missing out

      • AlwaysPi7

        ya’ll will keep me informed :-)

    • panamajackson

      This begs the question: why would Insecure be the only show that matters. Dear White People is pretty much the prequel to Insecure. It’s them before they hit the real world.

      • AlwaysPi7

        I don’t watch A LOT of tv shows, tbw, only certain joints interest me.

  • Eyes Open

    The show is predictable and obviously seeks to promote an agenda, albeit with an edgy title. I watched the awful movie and my wife and tried to watch the show, but our brains would not allow our eyes to be subjected to the crap.

    • panamajackson

      So you’re saying that you didn’t enjoy it? How many episodes into the show did you all make it. The first episode as basically the movie-lite. It got way better to me starting in the 2nd episode.

      • Spicy Kas

        It’s a troll on a guest account

        • Spicy Kas

          I was wrong

      • AKA The Sauce

        I’d say it got good after episode 3 and GREAT after episode 6. Episod 6 y’all….maaaaan

      • Eyes Open

        We did not enjoy the movie or first episode. We didn’t watch any other episodes. We try our best to support Black actors and shows. We even watch Empire. Maybe, that is the problem, the first episode. We will give it another chance. However, we don’t like Sam and find her annoying and hyprotcritical. We also don’t like Greenleaf. We do enjoy Insecure and Queen Sugar. We stopped watching Luke Cage, when Cottonmouth was killed. Deuces was barely watchable. We are holding out for the returns of Power, Insecure and Atlanta.

        • panamajackson

          Luke Cage definitely fell off a cliff when Cottonmouth died. the second half of that series was straight basura. Queen Sugar is awesome and so is Insecure. I agree. Deuces was terrible, but I watch those movies as a form of self-care.

          In terms of DWP, I do recomment watching more than the first episode. If that’s all you watched, then it was the movie in condensed form, and I can see why you would be over it. Give it to episode say 3 or 4 – a total of two hours tops of your life – and see if the impression changes. I think you’ll be surprised. My girl hated the movie too and told me that the show sucked /bc she only watched the first ep. I made us watch more episodes and she was all in by episode 3.

          • Eyes Open

            Ok, we will give it another chance. Does the other episodes focus on the other characters or is Sam the main focus? What made a Different World great was the diverse range of characters, and what made The Quad unwatchable was the stereotypical characters. I am hoping that DWP has diverse characters, otherwise we will not be able to get through more than 3 episodes tops.

            • Zil Nabu

              I thought the Quad was halfway decent. It at least made me want to see what happens next.

              • Eyes Open

                I just couldn’t get in to the Quad. Probably due to my Different World bias. I was expecting so much more out of the show. Instead, it seemed like a Tyler Perry soap opera.

            • L8Comer

              It’s better after episode 3, but still not great. Very sam centered, but a few episodes focus more on Coco and also Troy. I liked those.

        • Zil Nabu

          I had to let Empire go this season. I love me some Taraji but the writing and acting on the show had become unbearable. On top of that Lee Daniels is beyond problematic and I have no interest in supporting his work.

          • Eyes Open

            We switch over to Blackish at 8:30. I agree with you about Lee Daniels.

        • L8Comer

          Not my cup of tea either and sam is insufferable. Yawn. We seem to have similar taste, altho I don’t think the show is crap, Just not that good. Maybe I’ll check this out Power tho

    • Spicy Kas

      Do not engage the troll

      • Cheech

        What, there’s a new one?

        • Spicy Kas

          Anothe person on a guest account

      • AKA The Sauce

        To be fair…the movie did miss the mark.

        • Spicy Kas

          I agree. But this comment combined with guest account strikes me as trollish.

          • AKA The Sauce

            I see

          • Spicy Kas

            I stand corrected

  • CrankUpThe_AC

    It felt like one big Spike Lee movie! Pretty dope.

    • AKA The Sauce

      Have you seen Rodney King?

      • CrankUpThe_AC

        Na not yet! Heard it was good though

        • AKA The Sauce

          It’s amazing

    • panamajackson

      It was like a long Spike Lee movie where he didn’t go all Spike on it.

      • Speaking of him, Spike’s show is slated for the fall.

      • Jennifer

        Also, no floating dolly shots.

        • porqpai

          So glad he’s moving beyond that. It was like his spray paint tag or something.

  • AKA The Sauce

    9 episodes and Coco is the hero of the people. It wasn’t supposed to be this way..but she petty lol

    • panamajackson

      Coco so trill with hers. I like her a lot.

      • Khal Drag A Hoe

        She has the best lines. Wokémon go and slave socks.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          The yelp review on the girl’s vaj was an epic clap back.

      • AKA The Sauce

        The speech she gave Troy when things went left…yea…ish about to go down.

  • Give Reggie all the awards.

    • panamajackson

      Yeah, Reggie played the HE** out of that episode where the thing happens with the guy at the place.

      • UrbanNortheast

        That last shot though, with him sitting on the floor looking at the camera (I like how all the eps end with the featured person looking so the camera) … tore my heart out.

        • I caught that ending glance pattern too. You learned so much about the character with those shots.

        • panamajackson

          Listen. GOT ME ALL THE WAY.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            This is why I give Reggie the nod over Coco for the series MVP. I was loving it when they were playing drunken trivia and he looks at Dwights and says I know your stuff and my stuff too.
            He’s the woke blerd we all need in our crew.

  • UrbanNortheast

    I watched the whole series over the weekend. The ep that Barry Jenkins directed (the one with the big thing that happens with Reggie) is particularly strong, but the whole thing is great. I went to an Ivy and saw so much of my experience in the show (minus the on-campus hair person – I went to school in a city so we had hair options).

    Also the Scandal & Iyanla spoofs were fire. I fell out.

    • panamajackson

      Listen. The Iyanla spoof KILT me.

      • UrbanNortheast

        DEAD. It was such a funny detail.

      • In all fairness…the Iyanla and Scandal shade DID tickle me.

      • Stanley

        YOOO, the Iyanla Spoof had me dead

        • Damon Banner

          “I read part of Iyanla’s book…”

    • Jennifer

      I didn’t know Barry Jenkins directed it?! That was the best episode. No wonder.

      That on-campus hair person is real. She and I are still friends today. :-)

      • UrbanNortheast

        Oh, I know! My friends at schools in more remote locations all had them. I remember the email I got from my friend who went to Cornell when she found the hair person – she was SO RELIEVED. It was like the second coming for her. That hair person saved her head (and probably paid her way through college doing hair).

        • Zil Nabu

          My best friend was the hair person on campus in my day.

          • TheUnsungStoryteller

            Mine too. Once you go to her, you know you can’t go to anywhere else.

            1. Loyalty
            2. Discounts.

    • Zil Nabu

      So you think it’s representative of the Black Ivy experience? If you vouch for that I’ll check it out. The movie bored me to tears so I had no interest in the series (besides the white tears it induced).

      • CrankUpThe_AC

        I don’t even know if it needs to be about the Ivy experience. Save for the state school shade, I’ve experience most of the things in the series.

        • Zil Nabu

          I don’t know. There was something extra surreal and maddening about being Black in a space that not even many white people were allowed to touch. I went to an almost all white high school in a solid middle class suburb. The Ivy League was a whole other level of Whiteness I’d never seen before because the level of privilege were so great. That school held the progeny of the true capitalists (owners of the means of production).

          • UrbanNortheast

            I went to prep school in a city. Socioeconomically, it was a bell curve. The outliers were the very wealthy and the lower middle class, and the bell was mostly families with two professional parents who took 1-2 vacations a year. In college, I met an Asian girl whose parents owned an island. (She was really self-conscious about it.) A whole island! I had never seen that kind of wealth up close before.

            The show doesn’t really touch on that kind of privilege, except for the president’s son (who is white. Troy, the dean’s son, is Black. There’s a great code-switching scene with them). But it gets at what it’s like to navigate Black circles at a PWI – how to try and carve out a space for yourself when you’re already pressed small.

      • Jennifer

        Yes. I think it’s representative of a Black Ivy experience. I certainly related to the movie and the series.

        • Zuri Robinson

          I’ve GOT to catch it then. But I’,m a bit concerned that if I watch a show about all the BS that black Ivy Leaguers go through, I just might go home and take a nap instead of studying for my AP exams this week because screw it ???

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        Same here. I’m in the same academic boat as UrbanNortheast and the originall didn’t resonate with me like that.

      • ConversiveConscience

        Back before undergrad, I was accepted to Cornell as a definite 2nd year transfer. I chose to stick it out at Howard, but my tour guide up in Ithaca informed me that there was, in fact, an all-Black dorm (Ujamaa). I remember peeping that thing in the distance and wondering if what I was feeling was akin to arriving at Hogwarts for the first time. I’m not sure if such a housing situation is the norm at Ivy schools, but I’d imagine there is a degree of reality to the fiction that is Winchester in DWP.
        Also, fleshing out the individual experiences of Black students who are very much Black, yet very much unique and compelling individuals in their own rights, was a beautiful thing to behold. We are a community, we are remarkable, but we are not a monolith; this is a prevailing fact of the Black experience and I believe it’s accurately portrayed over the course of the show.

        • Zil Nabu

          I lived in Ujamaa my freshman year. It was one of the best experiences of my college years. AP didn’t feel like Uj when I was watching.

          • ConversiveConscience

            Oh you’re an Alum! Please do tell, how was it different? Because my only college regret is that I never experienced it.

            • Zil Nabu

              Wow, it was a while ago. At the time most of the Black students at Cornell came from low income families. The Sams and Troys were in the minority. We didn’t really have class divisions amongst ourselves. My freshman year there were a series racist incidences on campus and our collective response was pretty militant. There were a few who didn’t participate but that was moreso due to apathy than wanting to work within the white power structure. Cornell was a VERY segregated campus all the way around. Asians hung out with Asians, the Black students stuck together but often combined with the Caribbean Latinos, and the White students, well they just white peopled everywhere. Every couple of months the Cornell Review would write a barely veiled racist article questioning our place at Cornell. There were a few incognegroes who never hung with Black people anyways and they were largely ignored. I guess my experience was much more nuanced than what’s portrayed in DWP. I think we created our own community and just tried to insulate ourselves from the broader Cornell campus until it was convenient for us to participate.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Whatttt…you didn’t have an on-campus hair person!!!! I thank God I knew about three girls who could lay my hair down!

      • UrbanNortheast

        We didn’t need one. There were Black salons at our disposal. Perk of city living. I mean, of course there were girls on campus who could do hair, but we didn’t NEED them in the same way that someone at school in New Hampshire did.

  • IDareYou

    I’ve been surprised with the number of laugh out loud moments on the show. The Germany thing made me dang near choke.

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